Tag Archives: Democracy

Feminist Political News: Kathy Hochul Wins NYS Democratic Primary & Hillary Clinton Was Right

For most of human history, women have been ignored or thought to be crazy. If only we had listened to, the world might have been a different place.

Last week, New York State Governor Kathy Hochul won the Democratic Primary. She will be running against Republican challenger Lee Zeldin.

Barring any major problems or scandals, I will be voting for her in the general election in the fall. Her goal (unlike other politicians who shall remain nameless in this post) is to help and protect the citizens of this state. Her signature on recent gun control and reproductive rights legislation tells me everything I need to know about her values. She also, unlike her predecessor, has the temperament to work with the voters and legislators at every level of government.

Back in 2016, when Hillary Clinton lost to you know who in the Presidential election, I (along with millions of other Americans) was devastated. Instead of moving this country forward, we were torpedoed back into an era that many believed were in the past.

It has become clear that she was right. We were warned but refused to listen. Now we are on the verge of losing everything we hold dear because many of us believed the lies of you know who and his minions. If only we had listened…..

P.S.: Who else thinks that Cassidy Hutchinson is a hero? She will go down in history as a woman who stood up for democracy and the rule of law.

P.P.S: A ten-year-old girl was raped in Ohio. The result of the rape was a pregnancy. Because she was a hair past the deadline in which she could get an abortion in her state, she had to travel out of state to end the pregnancy. This is exactly why Roe v. Wade needs to be codified as a nationally enforced law. No one with a uterus should be forced to carry their rapist’s child. Especially a child.

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Politics Book Reviews: Battling the Big Lie: How Fox, Facebook, and the MAGA Media Are Destroying America & Allow Me to Retort: A Black Guy’s Guide to the Constitution

It would be easy to think that those who we elect to speak for our needs in the halls of power are doing their jobs. A deeper dive reveals a lust for power, the need for influence to fill one own pocket, and the lack of care/responsibility to those who put them in office.

Battling the Big Lie: How Fox, Facebook, and the MAGA Media Are Destroying America, by Dan Pfeiffer, was published last month. In short, it describes how both the carelessness of the social media companies and a right-wing conspiracy nearly led to the annihilation of this nation and our democracy. He also talks about how we can fight back and stop the lies before they destroy us.

Allow Me to Retort: A Black Guy’s Guide to the Constitution, by Elie Mystal, was published in March. Mystal takes the legalese out of the Constitution and explains them in a way that anyone would understand. Complete with pop culture references and the occasional f-bomb, Mystal points out what is wrong with the law (i.e. racism, sexism, anti-LGBTQ sentiment, etc), and how we can prevent the white patriarchy from dragging us back into the past.

What we need right now are two things: hope and a kick in the behind. These books provide both. By writing laymen’s terms, both Pfeiffer and Mystal are giving the average citizens the tools we need to fight against the growing threats of theocracy and fascism.

Do I recommend them both? Absolutely.

Battling the Big Lie: How Fox, Facebook, and the MAGA Media Are Destroying America and Allow Me to Retort: A Black Guy’s Guide to the Constitution are available wherever books are sold.

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My Takeaway From Last Night’s January 6th Commission Hearing

History does not happen in a vacuum. There are events that inform the present and guide us to hopefully learn from the mistakes made in the past.

Last night, more than twenty million Americans watched the first public hearings of the January 6th commission. For two hours, viewers were presented with evidence and interviews in regards to the riot that nearly broke our democracy more than a year and a half ago.

As I see it, the information is damming. There are also four important elements that both the mainstream media and the voting public must face head-on:

  1. The former President is an egotistical, two-faced, lying, con artist who cannot understand the concept of the word no. He is not above throwing his own daughter under the bus or potentially sacrificing former VP Mike Pence to the wolves.
  2. Any politician or government bureaucrat who has supported you know who in the service of their own career must either be voted out and/or revealed for the traitors that they are. A two-party system only works if both sides can work together, even when they don’t always agree.
  3. The right-wing media’s lies must also be revealed for the hypocritical bullshit that it is. In a move that surprised no one, the hearing was not broadcast on Fox News and other media companies of their ilk.
  4. Anyone who was involved that day must be brought to justice. If they are not, that sends a message that what happened is acceptable and normal.

Fifty years ago, Watergate changed the politics of this nation. Looking back after half a century, we can now see the damage that the scandal caused. My fear is that if we do not face this problem head-on, we will look back in another fifty years and ask why we did not do something when we had the opportunity.

We have one shot to correct this wrong. The question is, do we have the nerve to do so or will the American experiment that is our democracy die in a haze of violence, hatred, and choosing power over the needs of the people?

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The Shooting in Buffalo is a Shit Storm of Everything That is Wrong With This Country

Saturday morning started as out as a normal day. For the residents of Buffalo in upstate NY, it became a day marked by grief and horror. A gunman walked into a grocery store and started shooting. By the time he was apprehended, ten people were dead, and three were injured.

The accused (whose name will not be mentioned on this blog) is an eighteen-year-old Caucasian boy. According to the police, his intention was to murder as many African-Americans as he could. Only two of the victims were not POC. Upon further digging, law enforcement officials discovered a manifesto in which he also believed the antisemitic bullshit.

To make matter worse, he had previous mental health issues and was able to evade the laws that prevented him from legally buying a firearm. If that was not enough, he lived streamed the massacre. As much as I appreciate the upsides of social media, the companies that run these platforms have some serious work and soul searching to do.

Everything that is wrong with this country is represented by the event on Saturday and the person accused of perpetrating it. There are many who would have no restrictions at all when it comes to firearms, but they will do everything in their power to control a woman’s/pregnant person’s body and their right to choose if/when they become a parent. They also turn a blind eye to the hate coming out of the right-wing press and the politicians who prefer power over respecting democracy, political norms, and the rule of law.

I don’t know what it is going to take to shake us out of this dream world that we live in. I fear that when we do, it will be too late.

May the memories of those killed on Saturday be a blessing. Z”L.

P.S. There were five mass shootings across the country this past weekend. How many people are going to die before we do something about this once and for all?

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The Ukrainian Invasion is a Both a Premonition and a Warning

It’s easy to take democracy for granted. It is only when it is on the brink of destruction that we remember how fragile and important it is.

Russia invaded Ukraine on Thursday morning. The estimated number of casualties as of Thursday night was 137. While the rest of the world sanctions, condemns, and protests the actions of the Russian military, Putin acts as if he has every right to take over a sovereign nation.

In a previous post about this topic, I compared the invasion to when Germany invaded Czechoslovakia. A more appropriate comparison is the German takeover of Poland in 1939. This event, as we all know, was the opening salvo of the European theater of World War II.

As both a Jew and an American whose family left Eastern Europe more than a century ago, I am scared and horrified on two points. The first is that Putin claims that he needs to “de-Nazify” Ukraine. Putting aside (momentarily) the continued misuse of the Holocaust-related language and imagery, he ignores the known fact that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is also a member of the Jewish faith. Anyone with half a brain can easily see through what is nothing more than a flimsy excuse.

Among the many pieces of video that have been released, the one I find most heartbreaking is the man saying goodbye to his wife and daughter as he prepares to fight for his country. I don’t know about anyone else, but seeing this exchange was nothing short of gutwrenching.

I am equally horrified that several prominent members of the American right (i.e. Republicans) are loudly and proudly flying their pro-Putin flag. What was that about America First? More like Russia First.

I believe that this is a turning point in world history that cannot be ignored. We have two choices. We can pull a Neville Chamberlain and let Putin steamroll over Europe. Or, we can fight back and ensure that our children live in a world in which democracy is respected and protected.

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Thoughts On President Biden’s First Year in Office

The first year of any Presidential administration is always rocky, regardless of how much political experience the President and their team have. It is a transition that requires patience, understanding, and the knowledge that the road ahead is anything but smooth.

Last week, President Biden held a press conference marking his first full year in office. To say that it was a challenge is an understatement. Given the mess his predecessor left behind, I think we need to be a little more understanding.

Looking back, I think many of us expected Biden to twitch his nose and instantly undo the damage done by you know who. It is a task that by definition is impossible.

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The one thing that I think he has going for him is his ability to change course, genuinely listen, and apologize when necessary. I can’t say the same for he who shall not be named.

The one obstacle I see ahead of Biden and the Democrats overall is the 2022 midterms. Recent history tells us that the party in power loses its advantage in Congress every two years. The major problem this time around is that the Republicans have no problem crossing the moral lines to win elections. Michelle Obama‘s recommendation two years ago to go high when they go low will not work this time around.

We can’t completely stoop to their level, but getting a little dirty maybe the one thing that saves the nation and our Democratic model of government. If Biden wants to see his poll numbers climb and ensure that his party retains control, there are two things he must do.

  1. Get the Voting Rights legislation passed: I firmly believe that he won because he spoke to Americans who have been disenfranchised and promised to make it happen. We all know that not all promises made on the campaign trail come to fruition. But this one is the key to the future success of this administration.
  2. Kitchen table issues: Not only does he have to address the most basic of kitchen table issues, he has shout his accomplishments from the rooftops. The only way to win over Americans who believe he is doing a poor job is to reach them where they are. If they are gainfully employed with a good salary, prices are reasonable, etc, then they may finally see through the bullshit of the Republicans. Otherwise, we are facing political tumult like we have never seen before.

I wish I had a crystal ball. But I don’t. I can only hope that at some point in the near future, we can put this madness aside and return to some version of normal.

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Emma Watson is Wrong About Israel

As a proud Jewish person, I get tired of the antisemitic, anti-Israel bullshit. For once, I wish we would just get over it and move on with their lives. As I see it, it takes way too much physical and emotional energy to hate another person simply because of who they are. Why not just live and let live?

Recently, Harry Potter and Beauty and the Beast star Emma Watson made a rather controversial post on her Instagram account.

Outside of her work as a performer, Watson is known as a feminist and a humanitarian. The fact that she is committed to both causes is nothing to sneeze at. But they are undermined when Israel is marginalized and demonized due to either purposeful lies or ignorance. Watson seems to be an intelligent and educated woman with a dedication to creating a better world. The problem is that she, like many people either ignore the facts or doesn’t bother to do their research before professing support of a terrorist organization. The issue grows tenfold when someone who has a platform as she does spreads lies.

I have nothing against those of Palestinian origin. My problem is when a government uses their resources not to build up their country, but to destroy another and convince the people that the neighbor is to blame. One of the podcasts I regularly listen to, Israel Story, had a recent episode about the Sbarro suicide bombing that occurred in the summer of 2001. Instead of just interviewing the surviving victims and their family members, they also interviewed the family of the person responsible for the attack. While I find it heartening and revealing is that the brother of the bomber partially places the blame on his government, not on Israel (start at 1:12:39).

Is she antisemite? I don’t know, I’ve never had the opportunity to meet her in person. But I do know that Israel is the only nation in that region in which women are fully enfranchised. The Tel Aviv Pride parade is one of the biggest gay pride parades in the world. It is a full-fledged democracy in which all citizens, regardless of any societal labels, have the same rights and responsibilities.

I don’t want to tell her to shut up and look at her next script. But I do want to give her a history book and recommend that she do a little reading before making her next broad and misleading statement.

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A Year On and January 6th Has Not Been Solved

When certain events become shorthand, it is certain to become a part of the public consciousness.

A year ago today, a mob forced its way into the Capitol building in Washington D.C. They nearly stopped what would have been an otherwise mundane procedure of certifying the 2020 Presidential election. Thankfully, they were stopped and President Biden was able to take the position that the American people chose him for.

While I would love to say that the perpetrators responsible for that day were prosecuted, sent to jail, and we could move on. But we can’t. There are far too many in this nation who not only believe that you know was robbed, but that they have the right to take back “their country” as they see fit.

Earlier this week, an article caught my eye. Written by Jonathan Allen, the final line is chilling.

“Jan. 6 is analogous to the first attack on the World Trade Center that failed. We should take heed of that.”

The people behind the riot knew exactly what they were doing that day. They also know what they need to do moving forward. They are not dumb, not by any stretch of the imagination. When their plan to physically take control of the government failed, they took a less noticeable, but far more invasive route. Via gerrymandering and taking control of school boards, there are many Republicans who are too happy to sacrifice this nation and her ideals to shape it into their image. If that means taking away the rights of women, minorities, and immigrants, so be it. And even further, if that means creating a real-life version of Gilead, they would be happy to do so.

We dodged a bullet last year. The next time this happens, it will not be a bullet coming in our direction. It will be a shoulder-fired missile and its target will not be left standing.

For nearly 300 years, Americans have assumed that our democracy will last forever. Unless we take a stand, our children and grandchildren will be talking about it in the past tense.

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Today’s Republican Party Could Learn a Thing or Two from Bob Dole

At the end of the day, a democracy needs compromise to survive. We don’t need to be in complete agreement 100% of the time, but we cannot be at each other’s throats all day.

Last week, Bob Dole, the late former Senator, and Presidential Candidate was remembered in a ceremony at the National Cathedral in Washington D.C. Among the speakers was President Biden.

Though Senator Dole and President Biden were on different ends of the political spectrum, they understood that they needed to find some sort of common ground to do their jobs. They also knew the value of real friendship outside of the office. Today’s Republican party could learn a thing or two from this relationship. Instead of being confrontational and refusing the see the other side, it wouldn’t hurt if they put down their literal armor and attempted to come to the table.

Earlier this week, newscaster Brian Williams announced his retirement. Speaking directly to his viewers, he implored his audience to put aside their differences and find a way to come together.

RIP Senator. Your contribution to this nation will never be forgotten.

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Thoughts on Hanukkah in 2021

History is more than a series of dry events written in a book. If we are able to understand what our predecessors have gone through, then perhaps we will finally learn from their actions.

Tonight is the first night of Hanukkah.

One of the things that strikes me this year is that it feels more relevant than ever. With antisemitism on the rise, it’s not difficult to see the parallels between what we are going through in 2021 and the Maccabee’s fight for religious freedom. As the United States is potentially stumbling into autocracy and away from democracy and religious pluralism, this story is more than important than ever.

If you celebrate, wherever you are, have a Happy Hanukkah.

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